1998 Ford Crown VictoriaEnlarge Photo
The federal agency this week issued a repeat caution concerning millions of vehicles—some of them up to 18 or 19 years old—potentially affected by the defect, which could cause vehicles to catch fire even when turned off and unattended.
Ford has recalled about 17.5 million vehicles in all, over many years and several separate recall expansions, to replace the switches, but NHTSA is concerned that not enough of them have been fixed.
The agency estimates that "there may be several million vehicles still on the road with the dangerous defect."
The newest vehicles covered by the recalls include the 2004 Ford F-150 Lightning, and Ford F-150 and Excursion models through 2003. A number of other models running through the 2002 model year are covered (see below).
NHTSA made clear that Ford was not to blame for the fact that so many of the vehicles remain unfixed: "Ford Motor Company has been diligent in contacting owners of the affected vehicles, including sending re-notification letters
to owners in many cases," they said in a release.
The federal agency is concerned that as more of these vehicles enter the used market, shoppers won't be aware as to whether or not the repair was ever done. To check if the vehicle you've purchased or are thinking of getting is affected by the recall—and if it's been fixed yet—go to http://www.ford.com/owner-services/customer-support/recall-information.
"Possible warning symptoms include a cruise control system that can't be activated or stops working; brake lights that stop working; low brake fluid; ABS and brake warning lights that are illuminated on the dashboard; or the inability to get a vehicle out of park."
Here's the full list of vehicles affected by the recall:
1992-2003 Ford E Series (all including Econolines)
1992-1998 Ford Crown Victoria / Mercury Grand Marquis / Lincoln Town Car
1993-2003 Ford F-Series (150-550)
2003-2004 Ford F-150 Lightning
2002-2003 Lincoln Blackwood
1993-1997 Ford F-Series (>8500GVW Diesel)
1999-2003 Ford F-Series (>8500GVW Diesel)
1993-1995 Ford Taurus SHO
1993-1998 Lincoln Mark VIII
1993-1996 Ford Bronco
1994-2002 F53 Motorhome
1994 Mercury Capri
1995-2003 Ford Ranger
1995-2002 Ford Explorer
2001-2002 Ford Explorer Sport & Sport Trac
1995-2002 Mercury Mountaineer
1995-2003 Ford Windstar
1997-2002 Ford Expedition
1998-2002 Lincoln Navigator
2000-2003 Ford Excursion